Dr. Barkhoudarian a neurosurgeon at the Brain Tumor Center in Santa Monica, CA recently presented a talk about the studies that he and Dr. Daniel Kelly have been involved with for years. They have studied Traumatic Brain Injury for the past 10 years and have worked closely with the NFL in American football.

Repeated concussions may cause pituitary damage – making players impotent, infertile and depressed, chronically fatigued and obese (any or all symptoms). But they can be treated. Concussion

Hypopituitarism (Pituitary Gland Dysfunction) in Retired Professional American Football Players

Pituitary gland and related hormonal dysfunction is a known consequence of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The impact of repeated mild TBI (concussion) that may occur in contact sports is less clear.

In this study we studied the relationship between concussion, subsequent hormonal function, neurobehavioral deficits and quality of life (QOL) in retired NFL players.

From a database of 2800 retired NFL players, 75 retirees with poor quality of life (QOL), age 30 – 65 years were studied with hormonal, neurobehavioral and QOL testing from early 2009 to June 2012. Overall, 16 players (21%) had evidence of pituitary gland hormonal dysfunction (either growth hormone deficiency or testosterone deficiency).

Compared to the 59 retirees without hormonal abnormalities, the 16 hormonally deficient retirees had a higher ratio of concussions to games, suggesting that concussions massed closer together may confer greater risk of pituitary gland damage. They also had average lower scores on QOL surveys and on an erectile dysfunction survey. Additional QOL testing suggested that low growth hormone and related hormone levels (IGF-1) are associated with increased physical limitations and healthcare and lifestyle accommodations.

This pilot study strongly suggests that pituitary gland damage may be a significant and common event in professional football players with lasting QOL consequences.

Further studies are needed and being planned to better define the risk factors and impact of sports-related concussion and pituitary hormonal dysfunction. The results of this study are in the process of being published.
This study was sponsored by National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and by Pfizer, Inc. Co- Principal Investigators: Daniel Kelly (JWCI) and Kevin Guskiewicz (University of North Carolina).